Waking up yesterday morning and realizing it was May 1st was pretty shocking for me. May has been one of those "off in the distance" months for me, until now, and all of a sudden I've slammed into that dreaded wall of way too many things to do (not to mention that summer is also about a minute away). My calendar is quite literally overflowing with plans for the next several weeks (super fun things and totally torturous things too) and it dawned on me that I seriously need to get my act together. Most important of all, I need to start breaking some bad habits that keep holding me back from reaching my full potential. My I DEFINE ME 30 Day Self Challenge starts now.
Old Habits Die Hard - Healthy Habits Live STRONG!
For the month of May, I'm going to test myself to reach my full potential, feel better than I've ever felt before, and accomplish my big picture goals while making it out alive and hungry for more... and (yes) I challenge YOU to do the same. Not sure where to start or how to achieve such a thing? It's ok... I'm happy to help!
To me, our personal habits are what ultimately define the way we live. Our days are occupied by an array of good and bad habits that we've formed somewhere along the way... when we wake up in the morning, the food we consume throughout the day, how we do or do not exercise, how we provide the right nutrients for our body, how we handle stress, what we do when we're anxious or unhappy, and the list goes on and on. I'm constantly noticing my various habits, and often thinking about how I'd like them to change. This month, I'm done thinking about it and falling victim to doing things the way they've always been done - I'm going to spend the next 30 days really identifying and addressing my personal habits and taking action to change them as needed.
I've organized my thoughts and goals in the following way:
My specific habit that I want to address
Where this habit is coming from... I'm big on digging deep to figure out what is REALLY going on and actually solving the problem from its core.
How I'm going to approach changing this habit... There might be one or several paths to getting there, and since these are reoccurring problems that have not necessarily been previously addressed, it's likely that I'll have to do some trial and error.
My "Define Me" Habits to Challenge
The A.M. Snooze Button Attack
- Going to bed too late
- Not waking up when my alarm goes off the 1st time
- Being too tired overall
- Being in denial that another busy day is beginning
- Get to bed earlier by deciding on a goal bedtime (counting 8 hrs backwards from when I need to wake up), drinking Chamomile & Sleepy Time hot tea, spending 5 minutes meditating before laying down, turning off all electronics 15-30 minutes before I want to fall asleep, and reading for a few minutes in bed.
- Wake up the 1st time my alarm goes off by setting an alarm with a new song/ring tone to keep me surprised and changing the physical location of my alarm clock so I have to walk further from my bed to reach it.
- Get excited about each day by having something in mind and on my calendar to look forward to... an exercise class or workout with a buddy after work, a tasty lunch I've made in advance, a nice walk during the day, etc...
- Feeling uncomfortable
- Excess energy
- Give myself a healthier outlet for my excess energy and nerves by getting daily exercise (even if it's just a walk), practicing my breathing, engaging in more regular meditation sessions, going to weekly yoga classes (or practicing at home if I can't make it to the class times).
- Give myself breaks to walk around for 5 minutes if I'm losing focus and be active on as many of my lunch breaks as possible to maintain focus throughout the day and feel more calm overall.
- Stop myself when I start to fidget, think about why I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing, take a deep breathe and think about putting my energy into something more efficient like my current task at hand.
Falling Victim to My Vices
- Searching for comfort (in the wrong places)
- Inability to be happy in the present
- Engaging in social settings with more ease
- Chasing a past, imagined or desired feeling
- Unwillingness to be my own bad guy and say no
- I think being a "victim" of my vices is the main problem I face, and I'd probably say my most prominent vice is drinking. I notice that the more I give in to my vices, the less self control I practice, the more I munch, the less motivated I am to exercise and live healthy, the more desire I have to continue giving into my vices, and so on. In my personal opinion, vices are also the most challenging habit(s) to break and fit life obstacle there is - we live in a society that is dominated by vices (drinking, smoking, gambling, addictions, etc...) and defines people by the vices they engage in. Unfortunately, as disgusting and embarrassing as it may be, it's also fun and exhilarating to give into vices - and it's hard not to when you're surrounded by everyone doing the same thing. Not surprisingly, the more committed I've become to my fit life, the more frustrating and confusing my vices have become. I want to go out with my friends... I want to get drunk (sorry, mom)... I want to let loose after a long work week... BUT... I want to live a healthy lifestyle... I want to let loose in moderation... I want to wake up for an early morning run on Saturday and Sunday mornings... I don't want to feel like crap. My approach to being IN CHARGE of my vices is to address it on a deep personal level and on a community level.
- Personal Level: Every time I want to give into my vices I commit to stopping, taking 3 deep breathes and telling myself 3 reasons to reconsider. If I decide to engage, I will set a limit that I will stick to. I will spend time meditating to uncover the issues that I'm attempting to resolve by giving into my vices and I will overcome them once and for all.
- Community Level: I will reach out to friends and family to spend time together in a healthy and active environment. I will encourage group walks, runs, park visits, trying new classes, exploring new places, and anything else that will get us out of the darkness of the bar and into the light of the outdoors.
I can do it.
You can do it.
We can build a better life for ourselves and the community around us.
We can do it.